, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 309–318 | Cite as

Invigorating ‘Nanoethics’: Recommendations for Improving Deliberations in Taiwan and Beyond

  • Shawn H. E. HarmonEmail author
  • Shang-Yung Yen
  • Shu-Mei Tang
Original Paper


Nanotechnology is the new(est) star in the high technologies sky. While nanotechnologies remain technologies of promise and potential, a growing number of nano-materials and nano-particle-reliant products are being produced. And although a growing number of academic, policy and industry reports are exploring nanotechnologies, there are very few genuine ethical assessments of nanotechnologies as they exist and might evolve in the coming years. Many questions have yet to be answered about the nature, development, and social and commercial deployment of nanotechnologies and what that means for the human condition and the preservation of our core values. We argue that the early and potentially risky nature of this interdisciplinary science does not justify a blinkered focus on risk assessment and management to the detriment of deep and ranging ethical evaluations. Much improved ethics evaluations must be undertaken, particularly in Taiwan where very little has happened despite grand expectations for, and funding of, the science. In this paper, we uncover the development imperatives for nanotechnologies, demonstrate the paucity of genuine nanoethics exercises, outline key questions for stakeholders undertaking nanoethics exercises to consider, and we articulate some preliminary actions for Taiwan (and other similarly situated jurisdictions).


Ethics Nanotechnologies Risk Uncertainty Values Taiwan 



Redacted for anonymity.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn H. E. Harmon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shang-Yung Yen
    • 3
  • Shu-Mei Tang
    • 4
  1. 1.Innogen, ESRC Centre for Social Economic Research on Innovation in GenomicsUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.SCRIPT, School of Law, AHRC Centre for Research on Intellectual Property and Technology LawUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Graduate Institute of Management of TechnologyFeng Chia UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Financial & Economic LawAsia UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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